Letters to the Editor 

Too Clever?

John Branston is too clever by half regarding the process for mayoral succession in the event of a recall in his latest column (City Beat, January 12th issue), stating the following:

"If you think 'the person so designated to succeed the mayor' is clear language, then you are not familiar with lawyers, local history, or the Memphis City Council."

Obviously, Branston has forgotten the process that followed the resignation of Wyeth Chandler in 1982. Then-City Council chairman J.O. Patterson technically became the city's first African-American mayor, serving for statute-specific 20 calendar days. When that time expired, the council appointed Chandler's chief administrative officer, Wallace Madewell.

Madewell would have served until the 1983 regularly scheduled election had local attorney Dan Norwood not filed a lawsuit to force a special election, which resulted in the election of Dick Hackett.

The irony of this is that Norwood was also the campaign manager for 7th Congressional District Democratic nominee Bob Clement. At that time, the 7th District extended into most of East Memphis, and the resulting increase of turnout in the East due to their apparent fear of an African-American mayor (J.O. Patterson was running for a full term) caused Clement to lose to Don Sund-quist by just under 2,000 votes.

Steve Steffens


John Branston responds: I remember the political events of 1982 and 1983 well and have written about them at length in my book Rowdy Memphis. After Mayor Wyeth Chandler resigned in 1982, there were attempts to make businessman Avron Fogelman mayor, then city councilman Oscar Edmonds. After these failed, Councilman J. O. Patterson Jr. became interim mayor, followed by chief administrative officer Wallace Madewell. Attorney Dan Norwood filed a lawsuit "on behalf of the citizens of Memphis," which, after some 11th-hour dramatics and a Tennessee Supreme Court ruling, forced an election for mayor. The winner was Patterson, but he did not get the then-necessary 50 percent of the vote. In the runoff election, Patterson lost to Dick Hackett. In summary, hardly a clear line of succession.

No Willie

In your last issue, you asked the rhetorical question: "After 14 years, can the marriage between Mayor Willie Herenton and the city be saved?" ("Memphis and the Mayor," January 12th issue).

How can you use the word "marriage" when Herenton recently fathered a child out of wedlock? We know who's getting "screwed" in that unification, don't we?

There is only one way for Memphis to grow prosperously and properly -- and to take care of and protect its heavily over-taxed and forgotten citizens -- and that is to get rid of Willie!

Joe Mercer


Impeachment is Deserved

By the narrowest of margins, the president's puppets in the Senate, along with final help from Vice President Cheney's tie-breaking vote, passed a major budget measure that will hurt the poor and elderly of this country. This bill is the usual result of President Bush's programs since he took office.

Bush had every intention of going to war, even before 9/11. Since he came to office he has started a war. He has passed tax cuts that mainly benefit the rich. He has put this country so far in debt that it will take years to correct this abuse of taxpayers' money. He has wiretapped our telephone conversations under the guise of national security with no regard for our civil liberties. He does as he pleases and expects us to accept it.

I was taught in school that we have three branches of government -- the judicial, legislative, and executive. Our forefathers had this in mind to ensure checks and balances. In practice, I have seen the judicial, the Republican, and the Democrat. I do not believe this is what our forefathers had in mind. Congress is supposed to do what is in the best interest of the people, not of the president or their party.

If there was ever a president that deserved impeachment, it is George Bush. We can't do much about our senators and representatives until the next election, but we can call for this president's removal. He is a danger to us and the rest of the world.

Marvin L. NicholsLouisville, Kentucky

Correction: The World Series of Poker Circuit Event at Grand Casino was omitted from last week's calendar. We regret the error.

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